Thursday, September 27, 2007

Cool laptops

All the teachers at the high school received cool laptops this year. They removed all the desktops, and we now use our laptops. They are a tablet, which means the screen swivels, I can close it and then write on the screen with a special pen.

It's really changed the way I grade papers. I now have the students submit their papers to me electronically. I have a site called Blackboard, which is what the colleges use for their online classes. The students turn their papers in, I download them to the desktop of my laptop, and grade them like that. I can use different colored ink just by clicking a button, edit and make comments on their papers. Then I hit a button and email it back to them. They open the attachment and see their grade. No paper involved.

Last night at the dance studio, while I was waiting for Macy, I was grading a paper like that. After I finished, I let Kaylin "draw" with the special pen. Even at 3 1/2 years old, she could changed the color of the pen once I showed her how. She had a ball scribbling all over Mom's computer.

Suddenly I was the coolest person at the dance studio. We had a flock of 12, 13, and 14 year-old girls watching Kaylin, and they were just mesmerized. One little girl looked up at me, and with awe in her eyes, said, "You are so lucky to have this computer." I just smiled and said thank you.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Halloween costumes

We purchased Halloween costumes tonight. Usually a few days before Halloween, we trek to the store to find out that everything in the girls' sizes are gone. Not this year! Thus the fun trip to Party America began.

First, the girls wanted every single costume on the wall. Too much to choose from: cheerleaders, witches, princesses, pirates, you name it, they wanted it. At one point Macy picked a Disco Diva, although I am positive she has no idea what a Disco Diva is. I steered her away from that one. They were also constantly distracted by the neat Halloween accesories: a red pitchfork, a bowl with a hand that grabbed you, a pirate face that stuck its tongue out. At one point, Bobby grabbed Macy and said, "Focus!!"

Ultimately, the decision was made by what costumes were 50% off. Kaylin will be Cinderella, in a pretty blue dress with matching gloves. It will be a perfect dress-up dress after Halloween. Macy will be Hannah Montana, complete with blond wig and rock star microphone.

For those of you unfamilar with Hannah Montana, she is the alter ego of Miley Cyrus, daughter of Billy Ray Cyrus. Hannah/Miley has a hit show on the Disney Channel and a CD. Her concert at the Sprint Center in December sold out in mere minutes, and tickets are being sold on ebay for outrageous prices. I just checked: the cheapest I could find was $70 for 2. I also found 4 tickets for $679--the $500-$700 range was pretty common. Then I saw 4 tickets for $1799.99! Outrageous.

Macy will be content with her blond wig and rock star microphone.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Macy's cheer

Last week Macy did a "spirit clinic" with the Kearney High School cheerleaders and Golden Girls, and then they performed at the football game on Friday. I'm putting the link to watch her cheer before the game. In case you can't make out the words, it was "Bulldogs, get down, and rock it all around." They did that three times.

They also performed at halftime, but the videographer couldn't find his daughter in the sea of kids, so there is no point in posting the link. You can't make out Macy.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Fireman muster

Last Saturday Bobby participated in a fireman muster at the Jesse James Festival. Kearney hasn't had a team for a while, and he was excited to get out there. There were about 4 or 5 other teams from other fire departments. It was hot, and the girls got bored quickly, but it was still fun. This first picture is Bobby and Nick, one of the part-time firefighters.
This is Nick and Bobby in some sort of hose competition. I won't begin to pretend like I know what they are doing. I think they had to unhook that gasket and that's all I know. I like the action shot, though.

This is Kevin and Dave, two other firefighters. I just think this is a cool picture. They were participating in a "barrel tug of war"--both teams shot water at a barrel hanging on a wire, and the first team to move the barrel over the line won.

This is Bobby and Dave, or "Mr. Happy Face". Dave was blindfolded, and Bobby had to guide him with commands to move the barrel with the spray of water. The team that moved the barrel the fastest won.

Bobby advising Dave how to move the water hose. The dots on the picture are actual water drops.

This is the Bucket Brigade. All 4 of them participated. Dave filled up the bucket, handed it to Nick, who handed it to Bobby, who handed it to Kevin, who threw the water on the roof of a little building similar to a dog house. The water ran off into a bucket, and the first team to fill up the bucket won.

This is the whole group, with Kevin holding the first place trophy. Kearney won the overall competition.

The guys really had a good time, and are talking about going to other fire department competitions around the area next summer.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

I had goosebumps all over my arm...

Sometimes as a parent you wonder if you are doing anything right. They say inappropriate things, are rude, interrupt, cry, whine, hit their siblings, and make you question your decision to have children at all.

Then a moment comes like this.

On Saturday I was making two casseroles and batches of cookies. One was for my sister, who burned her foot badly and will have a minor surgery on it on Monday. The other was for a friend at church, who had a hysterectomy last week. Macy walked into the kitchen and asked me what I was doing.

Me: I am making food to take to Aunt Natalie because of her foot, and to Dawn
because of her surgery.

Macy: (looked at me for a minute) Treat others the way you want to be treated. They both brought you food when you broke your hand, and now you're taking food to them. It's nice to do things for other people, isn't it?

So maybe some things are sinking in.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Macy's a star!

I don't know how long this link will be active, but Macy is on the home page for the Kearney School District.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

You've got to be kidding me...

Those of you in education will appreciate this story...

Last week during SSR (Silent Sustained Reading) a girl was talking on her cell phone. I was several rows behind her, so I reached over, tugged on her ponytail, and told her to put her phone away. She said, "ow', shot me a nasty look, and asked why. I replied she wasn't allowed to talk on her phone during SSR. She grumbled, but put the phone away. There are 92 students in study hall, so I have no idea who she is. End of story.

Then I find out today that her mom called and complained! Said that I "hurt" her daughter by pulling on her ponytail and that she yelled so loudly she embarrassed herself. My principal explained that he was sure I didn't mean to intentionally harm her daughter, but she wasn't to be talking on her cell phone during school.

What bothers me the most is the mom was more worried about me tugging on her ponytail than her daughter talking on her cell phone during school! It is situations like these that give high school students a bad rap--90% of them are good kids who do what they are supposed to, and that 10% brings them all down. And it is parents like these that teach their children that it is okay to put the blame on someone else, that it is okay to break the rules.

Guess who the daughter was talking to on her cell phone? Her mom.